Here are some tips and tricks from those who have done special events. Learn from their successes and mistakes!
- Have your entire staff wear matching t-shirts. If you cannot afford to have shirts printed, ask everyone to wear the same color (plain) t-shirt with a name tag. You want your staff to be easily identified.
- When you ask for volunteers, be specific. Don’t just ask for help. Have a list of jobs and responsibilities from which volunteers can choose.
- Not everyone will respond to an announcement, so recruit volunteers directly. Be simple and clear: “I would love for you to be in charge of our ring-toss game this year at the fall festival.”
- When volunteers arrive, have something for them to begin working on immediately. For example, if several people are helping with decorations, have supplies ready and ask them to do something specific. Asking someone to “decorate a room” is more vague than saying, “Take this green and brown paper and make a tree on that wall. Here’s a picture if you need an idea.” In other words, have a sample of what you want and the supplies to make it happen.
- Have two or three extra volunteers in case someone cancels at the last minute.
- Start on time. You communicate value to those attending and to those volunteering at an event when you respect their time.
- Remember to plan for clean-up. If you do not have specific volunteers to help with clean-up, you will probably be doing it yourself long into the night. (Trust me. I speak from experience.)
- Remember to plan for follow-up. It is too easy to breathe a sigh of relief at the end of a special event and forget to follow-up. If your event specifically targeted new families and children, be sure to contact them immediately. Senior members of your church who are unable to help with physical activities would be excellent help in this area.
- If you will be giving something away at your event (food, candy, etc.), consider giving each child a ticket to redeem for the item. At our fall festival, we give out one large treat bag to each child as they leave. By asking them to turn in their ticket, which they received free at registration, I can be certain each child only gets one bag, and I do not run out of candy.